Hot Chocolate

Waiting for it to cool
isn’t possible. You think,
I can’t wait, I’ll risk a burn
and close your eyes when you sip
burning a memory on your tongue,
helping forget another.
Drink hot chocolate at a funeral.
Everyone in black
will think you woke up drunk
last night trying to find a way
outside it all. But you rediscovered
that dusted cardboard box
deep in the cabinet from Christmas.
The mix you bought on a whim,
a kind invitation to remember.
You saw smiles and the crumple
of wrapping paper shoved
into a black garbage bag
when you smelled the steam.
Waiting for that comfort
to touch your lips, prepare
by thinking of times you felt cold.
Behind those eyelids, see the rain
find every twig on that leafless tree,
breathe in the vapor, burn your mouth,
he’s not coming back, forget the questions
you wanted to ask, remember
the marshmallows.

Matthew David Manning is a poet and instructor at Pittsburg State University (PSU) in the Intensive English Program. Matthew holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and PSU, and has been published in many publications including Rust + Moth, I-70 Review, Red Paint Hill, Kansas Time + Place, and Chiron Review.

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